The Pledge of Allegiance v. the Constitution

by Tarif Abboushi

In placing the blame for the current violence squarely on the Palestinians, President Bush has come up lamentably short.

Replace your leadership, Bush tells the Palestinians. Meanwhile, the United States does business with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, whose bloodied past led an Israeli commission of inquiry to charge him with a level of responsibility for a war crime, deeming him unfit to serve as his country’s defense minister. We receive Sharon out of our unshakable commitment to democracy. It suffices that he is Israel’s elected leader. But no such courtesy is extended to the Palestinians. Elected or not, Yasser Arafat and the current leadership must go. Re- electing it is impermissible. Democracy be damned.

Adopt a constitution, President Bush demands of the Palestinians.

Israel has never had a constitution. It has a set of laws, some blatantly racist in their assignment of privilege based on religion, but no constitution. We could offer Israel a copy of the U.S. Constitution, except, of course, it would require the dismantling of Israel’s Zionist infrastructure.

Build a democracy based on tolerance and liberty, the president beseeches the Palestinians.

A democracy based on tolerance is presumably one that, like our great democracy, has at its core the separation of church and state. And a democracy based on liberty? Can we understand that to be one that does not deny liberty to anyone, a concept fundamentally incompatible with the notion of militarily occupying another people’s land?

Neither parameter fits the Israeli model of democracy.

To his credit, Bush has recognized and stated that Israeli settlement activity must stop, and that the Israeli occupation must end. But his position is plagued by the same inconsistencies that have tarnished his attempts at statesmanship in the Middle East in the past. On the one hand, he conditions U.S. support for the creation of a Palestinian state on the Palestinian people having “new security agreements with their neighbors,” meaning their Israeli neighbors. Yet he also states that a “Palestinian state is necessary to achieve the security that Israel longs for.” A Palestinian state is necessary for Israeli security, but support for a Palestinian state will be withheld until Israel is secure.

There is a way out of the stalemate. It is to recognize, and base our policy, on the principle of cause and effect. The Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory preceded — by decades, no less — Palestinian terror attacks against Israel. The occupation and colonization of the West Bank and Gaza are not a response to the terror, but the reason for it.

President Bush must understand this simple truth before he can successfully formulate a process to turn his vision of two independent, viable, secure states into reality. Failing that, Palestinians and Israelis alike will be doomed for the remainder of Bush’s presidency — waiting for salvation which never comes.

Tarif Abboushi is a director of the Houston chapter of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.


Weekend Edition
November 27-29, 2015
Gary Leupp
Ben Carson, Joseph in Egypt, and the Attack on Rational Thought
Pepe Escobar
Will Chess, Not Battleship, Be the Game of the Future in Eurasia?
Dave Lindorff
Gen. John Campbell, Commander in Afghanistan and Serial Liar
Karl Grossman
Our Solar Bonanza!
Ramzy Baroud
Forget ISIS: Humanity is at Stake
Elliot Murphy
Cameron’s Syrian Strategy
Gareth Porter
How Terror in Paris Calls for Revising US Syria Policy
Michael Perino
The Arc of Instability
Yves Engler
Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Mining Industry
Tom H. Hastings
ISIS and Changing the Game
John Halle
A Yale Education as a Tool of Power and Privilege
Norman Pollack
Syrian “Civil War”?: No, A Proxy War of Global Confrontation
Sheldon Richman
Let the Refugees In
Ron Jacobs
Rosa Luxembourg–From Street Organizer to Street Name
James A Haught
The Values of Jesus
Binoy Kampmark
British Austerity: Cutting One’s Own Backyard
Ed Rampell
45 Years: A Rumination on Aging
November 26, 2015
Ashley Nicole McCray – Lawrence Ware
Decolonizing the History of Thanksgiving
Joseph Grosso
The Enduring Tragedy: Guatemala’s Bloody Farce
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
Imperial Myths: the Enduring Lie of the US’s Origin
Ralph Nader
The Joys of Solitude: a Thanksgiving!

Joseph G. Ramsey
Something to be Thankful For: Struggles, Seeds…and Surprises
Dan Glazebrook
Turkey Shoot: the Rage of the Impotent in Syria
Andrew Stewart
The Odious President Wilson
Colin Todhunter
Corporate Parasites And Economic Plunder: We Need A Genuine Green Revolution
Rajesh Makwana
Ten Billion Reasons to Demand System Change
Joyce Nelson
Turkey Moved the Border!
Richard Baum
Hillary Clinton’s Meager Proposal to Help Holders of Student Debt
Sam Husseini
A Thanksgiving Day Prayer
November 25, 2015
Jeff Taylor
Bob Dylan and Christian Zionism
Dana E. Abizaid
Provoking Russia
Oliver Tickell
Syria’s Cauldron of Fire: a Downed Russian Jet and the Battle of Two Pipelines
Patrick Cockburn
Trigger Happy: Will Turkey’s Downing of Russian Jet Backfire on NATO?
Robert Fisk
The Soothsayers of Eternal War
Russell Mokhiber
The Coming Boycott of Nike
Ted Rall
Like Father Like Son: George W. Bush Was Bad, His Father May Have Been Worse
Matt Peppe
Bad Policy, Bad Ethics: U.S. Military Bases Abroad
Martha Rosenberg
Pfizer Too Big (and Slippery) to Fail
Yorgos Mitralias
Bernie Sanders, Mr. Voutsis and the Truth Commission on Greek Public Debt
Jorge Vilches
Too Big for Fed: Have Central Banks Lost Control?
Sam Husseini
Why Trump is Wrong About Waterboarding — It’s Probably Not What You Think
Binoy Kampmark
The Perils of Certainty: Obama and the Assad Regime
Roger Annis
State of Emergency in Crimea
Soud Sharabani
ISIS in Lebanon: An Interview with Andre Vltchek
Thomas Knapp
NATO: This Deal is a Turkey